Identifying your passionate career

I am often asked by clients and seminar attendees how I changed careers and how I found my passion for financial education and planning. In this article I share some of my story and recommend two resources for identifying your passion.

This week marks the tenth anniversary of my career crisis. I am often asked by clients and seminar attendees how I changed careers and how I found my passion for financial education and planning.

My career crisis lasted much longer than I week. I had been getting progressively more miserable in my career as a petroleum engineer as I cycled through each placement on my graduate program with BHP Billiton Petroleum.

Then my 25th birthday arrived. This was a birthday that during high school had been one about which I had wondered what I would be doing. My life didn’t much resemble the high school fantasy.

My thoughts turned to one of the other future milestones – age 50 when I would have doubled my lifetime. I realised that I had worked with many people around that age who moaned about a lack of fulfillment and enjoyment in their jobs and careers. It suddenly dawned on me that if I continued my current path I would likely become one of those people at age 50.

Then I realised that if at age 50 I was one of those people and was still working in my first career as an engineer then my 50 year old self would want to go back and kick the butt of the 25 year old for not having the guts to do something about it.

That was my catalytic moment!

Finally I acted on the oft-repeated advice of my mentor at the time, Roger Dingle to read the book “What Colour Is Your Parachute?

The job hunter’s and career changer’s bible

What Color is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers: 2010What Colour Is Your Parachute?” by Richard Nelson Bolles is a fantastic resource. The first half you read and learn about some fantastic processes for identifying the job of your dreams. The second half of the book is systematic exercises that work through each element of a dream job including industry,  type of work, environment, responsibility, income, geographic location.

To complete the exercises you often start by thinking about what you have enjoyed in your life to date and methodically identify the characteristics that made it enjoyable. It takes time but the investment is worth it.

This is your fulfilling life we are talking about. Invest time now and you reap the rewards over your lifetime.

If you are pondering what career may be your passion then I strongly recommend you buy a copy of this book. Don’t borrow it from the library. Make the investment, write all through it and own the process.

If I had my time over I’d get help

Knowing what I know now I would go much further than the book. I should’ve also enlisted professional help with a career coach or counsellor.

But I was too tight! That ‘s the main reason I didn’t speak to a professional. I was young and didn’t yet appreciate the immense value of professional guidance. The biggest value is intangible but it is there in spades.

The value includes:

  • Enlightenment – discovering what I didn’t realise I needed to consider.
  • Clarity – filtering out the irrelevant and lasering in on what is applicable to my circumstance.
  • Direction – a road map of steps to do next and even resources to access.
  • Timeliness – discovering all of the above much sooner, quicker and easier than if explored on my own. Time is limited for all of us. I love it when others can accelerate my progress to greater success and fulfillment. That reward is immense.

It was tough but the rewards followed

I almost halved my salary when I changed jobs from working as engineer to a paraplanner. Plus I had the extra costs of funding my post-graduate study. Yes, that was hard.

But within two years I was promoted to a role with a salary package that exceed my former engineering package. And I was much happier.

You can do it too

I was able to handle the drop in income because I had been a reasonable saver and had planned ahead. You can do it to.

If you ponder a career change in your future life plan don’t let money be your hand brake. Start planning and saving now to have the financial resources to support you in pursuing your passion and a more fulfilling life.

Pursue your passions and wealth follows.


Discover my other recommended books here and read other book reviews here.

What Warren Buffet is Doing: in his own words

“Buy Amercian. I am.” declared Warren Buffet in an opinion piece in the New York Times on October 17th, 2008.  This article is written by Warren Buffet and I highly recommend you read it here.

In his own personal account he says that he has been buying American stocks. He also says that people who currently have their wealth in cash should not feel comfortable at the moment. Read the full article to understand his reasoning, including some historical context.

Following the historical context Buffet writes:

You might think it would have been impossible for an investor to lose money during a century marked by such an extraordinary gain. But some investors did. The hapless ones bought stocks only when they felt comfort in doing so and then proceeded to sell when the headlines made them queasy.

Slow, steady and committed wins the race. Chopping and changing in line with your emotions will cost you dearly.

The 10 most important investment sayings

In the Wealth section of today’s edition of The Australian there is a very useful article by Don Stammer summarising some of the great wealth creation wisdom. Cut through the noise and focus on the fundamental, timeless principles of creating wealth. Read Don Stammer’s article: “Wise words: the 10 most important investment sayings“.

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams: by Dr Randy Pausch

There is a tradition at Carnegie Mellon University called “The Last Lecture” – if you knew you were about to die what would you share with your students in your last lecture? Dr Randy Pausch recently gave such a lecture, with a twist.

My passion is helping people achieve their lifestyle goals through the wise management of money. So Dr Randy Pausch’s lecture on “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” shares some very pertinent points linked to my passion. I believe financial management is not about the money, it’s about the lifestyle that money facilitates.

You can watch a special 10 minute reprisal of Dr Randy Pausch’s lecture or view the full, original version on the Carnegie Mellon University’s YouTube channel here.

The key ingredient to wealth

Imagine for a minute that you’re on a ship sailing the seas; perhaps a cruise along the Alaskan coastline. The ship hits an iceberg, starts taking on water and the Captain announces “abandon ship – everyone to the life boats”. Traditionally, who are the first to be saved?

The women and children.

But why the children? They probably have very little knowledge and skills, will panic and once they get on the life boat will make life hell for all the other survivors by whinging the whole time. (Yes, I am a parent.)

So, why save the children?

Because they are the future. The embodiment of massive potential.

You were once a new born baby with massive potential for future greatness. Ask your parents what they were thinking when they first held you in their arms.

What Happens?

Why don’t so many people achieve their stated dreams?

According to the great achievers the key ingredient to wealth is our minds. And conversely the greatest obstacle to wealth is ourselves.

What happens is…life happens, and the choices we make in interpreting each life event. The choices create positive and negative beliefs about success, achievement, wealth, and what it means to be “rich”. The negative beliefs become blockages to achieving the level of financial success we desire.

Just walk into any good book store and there is ample information about how to get rich. You can easily discover what to do and how to do it. So why aren’t more people really wealthy?

…well the excuses are endless. But they all boil down to the same thing – they made choices away from wealth rather than towards it. And most of our choices have a large emotional undercurrent.

To get wealthy the most important thing to master is your own mind and your own emotions.

An Example

Conceptually most of us understand that we can achieve higher investment returns and greater wealth by investing in more growth oriented investments, compared with investing in income oriented investments. So if you want to get richer you would invest maximum amounts in growth investments.

However research shows that most people cannot emotionally handle the short-term volatility of growth oriented investments. They are more comfortable having at least 30% of their long-term investments in defensive assets.

In other words, most people are allowing their short-term emotions to compromise their long-term wealth creation potential.

Does that sound like it could be you?

You can still achieve what you want

Do you still feel that you have the potential to achieve greatness? To achieve whatever you dream. To be as wealthy as you desire and to use that wealth to live the life you desire. Do you still believe it?

I believe you do have massive potential, no matter what age you now are.

As well as learning about the details of investment strategies and products, invest in learning about yourself. That will have the greatest return-on-investment. And you will reap the rewards in many diverse ways, including wealth.

P.S. Thanks to Colin James for sharing the sinking ship story.

How to read a non-fiction book in 15 minutes

Since money weaves its way into most aspects of our life learning how to effectively manage your finances and create wealth can take quite a large amount of learning, including reading.

Scott Pape, author of The Barefoot Investor, recently published an article on how he reads a non-fiction book in just 15 minutes – and he is not using traditional speed reading methods. Using the technique could enable you to fast track your journey up the learning curve to great wealth. I recommend that you read the article.

Your Views

Are you already using this technique? If so, please leave a comment sharing your tips in learning the technique.

Do you use alternate techniques? If so, please share them with other readers by leaving a comment.

Can you really achieve your financial dreams?

About a year ago during a client meeting a young lady in her mid-twenties asked me, “Matt, why are we talking about all of these dreams and goals? Is it realistic to think you can achieve them?”

Absolutely you can! You can achieve whatever you want, and there is lots of evidence to that effect.

To illustrate this point watch this video interview with Allan Pease, the international expert and best selling author also known as “Mr Body Language”.  In this candid interview with me on “Wake Up! WA” , Pease reveals how he has defied the prognosis of scores of medical experts to survive cancer, many years longer than predicted (and still going strong).  Plus Pease has achieved massive success in many areas of his life.

Allan Pease has given many media interviews during his 30 year career but until this interview had never revealed the three key ingredients of how he achieved his phenomenal success.

To discover how you can achieve whatever it is that you dream of watch the video now: